December 09, 2019 Articles

The New York Child Victims Act: Coverage Implications and Issues

The passage of the act creates new sources of risk for both policyholders and carriers in light of lawsuits alleging abuse occurring decades ago.

By Frank Winston Jr. and William D. Carson[1]

On February 14, 2019, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law the New York Child Victims Act, [2] giving victims of child abuse suffered years and even decades ago a chance to pursue justice against their abusers and the institutions that enabled them. As a result of the passage of the act, insurers and policyholders can expect an avalanche of child sexual abuse claims in New York. Indeed, over 400 sexual abuse suits were filed on August 19, 2019, the first day of the “window” for filing such claims under the act, with hundreds and perhaps thousands more expected to follow, leading New York to designate 45 judges to deal exclusively with the expected claims. [3] These cases undoubtedly will spawn coverage disputes on a variety of issues, as discussed further below.

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